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Moody teenagers

Bad moods are common in the teenage years as hormones get busy during puberty.

For parents, it can be a concern knowing what is just part of growing up and what could be a sign of something more serious.

Around 1 in 10 children in the UK up to age 15 have a recognisable mental health disorder, including emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.

What causes teenage bad moods?

For many teenagers, dealing with school pressure and daily changes cause bad moods.

Yes, it is hard to be perfect - because humans are not perfect! Most teenagers want to be independent while still feeling a certain sense of dependence on their family. They want to be treated like adults, but sometimes they still feel like little children. Teenagers are in a transition between childhood and adulthood, and all the changes and new responsibilities are often overwhelming. Yes, this is an exciting time, but it can also be lonely and frightening.

Another cause of the mood swings that teenagers experience is puberty. Not only do the hormones that kick in at puberty cause incredible physical changes, they also can make your mood swing - whether you want it to or not! These mood swings can be confusing and frightening, both to the teenager and to everyone else around them.

Nearly everyone goes through mood swings during the teen years. But it's important to understand whether a bad mood is temporary irritability, or full-blown depression.

When is it not just a bad mood?

If you have long periods of irritability or moodiness, feelings of despair, or excessive feelings of boredom, seek medical advice. Sometimes, these are signs of a more serious mood disorder called depression.

Depression is much more than just feeling sad or low. It can lead to excessive anger, irritation, apathy or even suicide. So get help. Talk to your doctor, a trained therapist, or a counsellor, who can help you with your feelings and get you back on the road to enjoying your life.

How can I get over my bad mood?

Bad moods not only ruin your day, they can potentially ruin your life. The young people's mental health charity YoungMinds says it is important to take time to relax and do things you enjoy.

It offers these tips to help feel calmer:

  • Talk to someone to help put things in perspective
  • Listen to music or a relaxation CD or podcast
  • Take slow deep breaths when you feel anger coming on
  • Take a walk
  • Draw, paint or write about your feelings
  • Go for a run, cycle, play football or an energetic sport
  • Have a long hot bath
  • Read a good book or fire up a computer game

Bad moods come, bad moods go, but keep in mind that if your feelings of sadness, irritability, boredom, or hopelessness occur often, and you just can't seem to shake them off - even with help from a trusted friend or relative - YoungMinds says you may need help from a professional, such as a:

  • Favourite teacher
  • Social worker
  • Youth worker
  • Connexions adviser
  • Mentor
  • School counsellor
  • School nurse
  • Doctor
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 27, 2017

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